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I'm never bored. If I'm not knitting or spinning, I'm gardening or reading. Always up to something!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Birthday Wishes

The day after tomorrow I will turn 63. Yikes. Thirty years ago I couldn't have imagined my life as it is now.  At that point I had poor health and little hope. Living with my young family in a small apartment on a tight budget, I had suffered illness after illness before being diagnosed with MS. I had a baby with year-round asthma and a young daughter dealing daily with a teacher who should not have been around children at all - ever. My health ebbed and flowed. I took a full-time job with the knowledge that I would have to come clean or lie about my health. I came clean and my first job led to two more before I stopped working full-time at the age of 52.  Pre-existing conditions prevented me from seeing a doctor for the MS for my first year of full-time employment. It didn't matter much. There wasn't anything they could do for me anyway. I was on a lottery list for Betaseron with no coverage for injectables. Scroll forward. Things worked out for the children as they tend to do. The baby outgrew the asthma and into size 12 shoes, a good job, a pretty little house and a nice family.  It wasn't that easy but it all worked out. My daughter blossomed into a capable, bright young woman who traveled to The Hague this past year to make a professional presentation. And she also has a nice family and a home of her own.  The husband I had 30 years ago passed away from cancer at the start of 2002. Sometimes I can hardly believe the life I've lived. It seems like there were two. I married my wonderful new husband 10 years ago and then there were three children as he came with one of his own. The youngest has just finished college and soon he'll be off into his own adventures. I've been off MS meds for years. I take numerous supplements. I have a new auto-immune disease, micoscopic lymphocytic colitis. But I will deal with that as I've dealt with MS. Nobody believes I'm as old as my license says I am. I have to prove that I'm eligible for my senior discount. Yesterday I celebrated my birthday with my family around me. The kids and grandkids splashed around in the pool for a while and then gathered around to help me blow out my candles. "Wait!" somebody said, "You didn't make a wish yet." I didn't have to. I have everything I could ever wish for.

gathered around

Monday, July 6, 2015

Spirit of Gardening

Figs forming
Cheyenne Spirit Coneflowers

Lace cap hydrangea tree in the shade garden
Japanese painted fern in the shade garden
Eye searing Hosta
Little bee alone and appears to be sleeping
Lady in Red Hydrangea looks very blue this year

When you look around, how does your garden make you feel? I don't mean the weeds popping up - or your tomatoes wilting with blight. I was rearranging some plants in the shade garden and realized there's very little color, other than the eye-searing green of the Hostas. My daughter and I came around the corner of the house and she hadn't seen the cool little spot, tucked away from the rest of the house. I want to put a chair there so I can sit and meditate but it's not a great place for a solitude with cars and walkers going by. It calls me to be quiet and alone. The bright, bold reds and oranges of the coneflowers are lined up in the herb garden and most visable from the pool and patio. They look like summer fun and excitement waiting to happen in the bright, blazing sun. My fig tree is setting tiny figs which will be ready when summer ends. I don't know if it's a myth that figs grow best when they're snuggled up against a home. My little tree was ready and producing its first crop when it was still in the garage where it lives during the winter. If it could speak, it would have certainly be asking to go outside.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Do You K-2?

 I do. I'm only on my second bottle of K-2 but I will take it every day until I hear that the claims being made about it are totally unfounded. Here's what I've read and heard about K-2. I am not a health professional and do not give out medical advice. I am sharing some information and strongly suggest that anyone interested in learning about this vitamin contact their naturopathic physician. Vitamin K-1 has been studied and understood for many years for its blood-clotting ability. Without it, we would be unable to control bleeding from wounds. However, people who take blood thinners are not able to ingest too much K-1 because it would counteract the benefit of their medication. Apparently, Warfarin also interacts adversely with K-2 as well as K-1 so it's very important to discuss all supplements (including herbs and teas) with a health professional before proceeding with self- medication. The interesting thing about K-2 is that without it, all the calcium and vitamin D3 in the world won't help prevent or treat osteopenia or osteoporosis. Before modern farming methods, we were able to get a nice dose of K-2 from grass-pastured animals, organ meats and cheese made from the milk of grass-fed animals, including chicken and eggs. Unless we make the effort and pay the extra cost, the animals the provide our meat, milk and eggs are all grain fed. I grew up on grass-pastured meat and we ate liver a couple of times a month. We were also dosed with cod liver oil all winter (and played outside all day in the summer). Those days are long past so now it's time to up my game. I buy grass-fed meat, butter and free range eggs. I just bought Gouda cheese, a fairly good source of K-2 and will buy brie next time, another good source. Vitamin D-3 helps pull calcium into the bloodstream but K-2 activates the mechanism that locks it into the bones and teeth (osteocalcin). K-2 may help support our nervours system so it's particularly important to those of us who have MS or diabetics who have nerve damage. It supposedly also helps keeps calcium out of our arteries (20% of arterial blockages are calcium) and keeps our skin more soft and supple. It's been said that you can look at wrinkly skinned people and predict how brittle their bones are -  that the correlation is that strong. Smoking and sun damage can't be excluded from the equation so I'm not sure about that one. There are two common types of K-2 - MK4 and MK7. MK-4 is from animal sources and MK-7 from vegetable. MK-7 is a longer chained chemical and is metabolized more slowly so only needs to be taken once a day. There's so much information about the need for vitamin K-2 in our diet and yet all we hear about is vitamin D. Add some vitamin A and we have the perfect trifecta for our bones, cardiovascular and nervous system. But check with your naturopath or functional medicine doctor first. Here are some links for further investigation: